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Newsweek "Muslim Rage" Cover Mocked

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

"The Imagery Is Extremely Unhelpful to Say the Least"

Emory U. Closing J-Program as Not Truly Professional

Media Missed Story: Stimulus Worked, Author Says

On Voter ID Stories, "Balance" Isn't Always Fairness

Milwaukee Columnist Kane to Switch to Reporting

Reporter Follows Human Border Smuggling to the Pacific

Hispanic Heritage Month Not Just for Latinos

Glenda McQueen, Survivor, Awaits Trial Verdict

Short Takes

Twitter followers gave such examples of

"The Imagery Is Extremely Unhelpful to Say the Least"

"Minutes after Newsweek tweeted its controversial 'Muslim Rage' cover and [its] own suggested #MuslimRage Twitter hashtag the internet fought back," Jorge Rivas wrote Monday for ColorLines. "Some users are even creating their own parody covers.

"First things first, though. The Newsweek story is nothing to laugh about. Think Progress points out that the author of the story Ayaan Hirsi Ali has made controversial statements about Muslims in the past.

" 'In a 2007 interview with Reason Magazine, Hirsi Ali called for Islam to be "defeated." The interviewer asked: "Don't you mean defeating radical Islam?" Hirsi Ali replied bluntly: "No. Islam, period. Once it's defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It's very difficult to even talk about peace now. They're not interested in peace.'

" 'The imagery is extremely unhelpful to say the least. It is an extremely small fraction of the Muslim world that is acting out. For a legitimate, mainstream publication to portray the situation as "Muslim Rage" — as if this is a vast and widespread response among the all adherents of this religion — is only feeding this "clash of civilizations" mentality that is extremely unhelpful,' Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the Jerusalem Fund told Politico.

". . . In a statement to Politico, Newsweek defended [its] cover: 'This [week's] Newsweek cover accurately depicts the events of the past week as violent protests have erupted in the Middle East (including Morocco where the cover image was taken).' "

Gianluca Mezzofiore added for the International Business Times, "Ali's article is by no means the only figment of fantasy to emerge from US media organs over recent days; in fact, it appears many US media commentators have wholly lost touch with reality regarding the assaults on American embassies. Even the American establishment, through the words of defence secretary Leon Panetta, has admitted that the level of violence appeared to be levelling off.

"Instead of following the example of President Obama, who responded to the mission attacks by calmly shoring up security in endangered hotspots and dousing fires with diplomacy, many American outlets have sought to blow the attacks out of all proportion. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough even stated that the entire Muslim world hates the United States 'because of their religion'.

"Megan Reif, assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado Denver, has compiled a spread sheet comparing the crowds involved in the so-called Arab Spring and those which have congregated for the current protests.

"The result is that the percentages involved in the anti-American incidents are much smaller than those in the Arab uprising in their respective countries. The author also noted that the deaths involved in the so-called Arab Spring were much higher.

" 'It is interesting to observe how media images of the crowds at Tahrir square in early 2011 were presented in wide-angle format, while the current spate of protest images are closely cropped around smaller, violent groups of people, giving the impression that the crowds are large and menacing,' Reif wrote. . . ."

Emory U. Closing J-Program as Not Truly Professional

Journalist-author Nathan McCall didn't say it made him wanna holler, but he did conclude that Emory University's decision to close its journalism program "smacks of intellectual elitism, if you ask me."

Hank Klibanoff McCall, the former Washington Post reporter whose 1994 autobiography, "Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America," has become a classic, is a senior lecturer in Emory's Department of African American Studies. But he teaches "African American Images in the Media" and has taught "News Coverage of Ethnic Minorities in America" and "South African History and Issues," a preparatory course for an Interdisciplinary Internship in South Africa Summer program.

Dean Robin Forman of Emory's College of Arts and Sciences announced Friday that he intended to close the journalism program as one of several changes. Enrolled students will be allowed to complete their studies. Hank Klibanoff, director of the Emory Journalism Program, called the decision unwise.

Explaining the development to students, Klibanoff said of Forman,Nathan McCall ". . . The one rationale he provided, other than the competition for resources he mentions in his letter, was that Journalism was viewed by many at Emory as a 'pre-professional program' and therefore as 'not an easy fit' in a liberal arts environment.

"I am not sure why preparing our students to be critical thinkers, professional journalists and better-informed citizens, as we do, carries a negative connotation. We're proud of what we are and of the students who have come out of our program. In any case, it's unclear to me why we didn't have a discussion on that, even a debate, before the decision was made to close the program."

McCall told Journal-isms by email, ". . . I agree with Hank. Student demand for journalism courses has remained consistently strong. Nevertheless, the program has always been the topic of intellectual debates around whether the study of journalism constitutes 'scholarship' or mere 'training.' Apparently, the administration has decided that it constitutes training. It smacks of intellectual elitism, if you ask me."

Klibanoff is a former managing editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who shared a 2007 Pulitzer Prize as co-author with Gene Roberts of "The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation." He said he became journalism director only three weeks before learning that the program was closing.

"May or may not be interesting to you that Journalism offers a course I created in Civil Rights Cold Cases, which I co-teach with Prof. Brett Gadsden of African-American Studies," Klibanoff added by email. "It's an outgrowth of my work with the Civil Rights Cold Case Project (www.coldcases.org), Jerry Mitchell, Stanley Nelson (the white Stanley Nelson not the filmmaker), etc.," he continued. "The course we teach focuses on unsolved civil rights murders in Georgia."

Klibanoff gave this history of the program: "Emory had a great grad and undergrad program in the 1920s through early 50s, educating folks like Claude Sitton, John Herbers, Reese Cleghorn, others. It died in 1953. I understand it was the same issue — journalism is a trade that sullies a liberal arts atmosphere. I don't know that for sure.

"It was started up again in 1996 when Claude Sitton retired back near Atlanta after the Raleigh News & Observer. He and Cox persuaded Emory to start up a program, but to make it focused on developing specialized reporters. At Emory, a student cannot major in Journalism, only co-major in it, so each student brings some other passion and some other discipline into the classroom.

"It's the ultimate interdisciplinary program in that regard — and hence, less pre-professional than most Journalism programs. We're a program, not a department. All 4 full time faculty are on contract, not carrying tenure. Here's the history: http://journalism.emory.edu/home/about/cox-endowment.html

The journalism director gave this racial breakdown of the co-majors in the program: white/Caucasian: 29; African American/Caribbean: 7; Hispanic/Latino: 3; Asian/Native American: 11; ethnicity not listed: 7.

Faculty: Full-time: Caucasians: 4; Adjuncts: Caucasian: 4, African American: 2; one unknown.

Klibanoff said in his letter to students: ". . . This surprise announcement catches us in the middle of a growth spurt: Our enrollment has been steadily rising in recent years and is now nearly 160 students, more than a third of them co-majors and minors. This semester, nearly every class is full and had to turn students away. . . . "

An inner-city street scene in Camden, N.J. Author Michael Grunwald told the Wash

Media Missed Story: Stimulus Worked, Author Says

"The media screwed up the story of the stimulus as badly as it screwed up the run-up to the war in Iraq," according to Michael Grunwald, a senior national correspondent at Time magazine and author of the newly published "The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era."

"It was the same kind of group think, the same kind of herd mentality and getting it wrong. They completely missed the story," Grunwald told Journal-isms by telephone from New York.

Two Sundays ago, Ezra Klein did a q-and-a with Grunwald for his Washington Post column. This past Sunday, Grunwald's book was the subject of prime real estate in the New York Times: A "Sunday Observer" column by editorial board member David Firestone next to the editorials.

". . . The reputation of the stimulus is meticulously restored from shabby to skillful in Michael Grunwald's important new book, 'The New New Deal,' " Firestone wrote. "His findings will come as a jolt to those who think the law 'failed,' the typical Republican assessment, or was too small and sloppy to have any effect.

"On the most basic level, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is responsible for saving and creating 2.5 million jobs. The majority of economists agree that it helped the economy grow by as much as 3.8 percent, and kept the unemployment rate from reaching 12 percent.

"The stimulus is the reason, in fact, that most Americans are better off than they were four years ago, when the economy was in serious danger of shutting down.

"But the stimulus did far more than stimulate: it protected the most vulnerable from the recession's heavy winds. Of the act's $840 billion final cost, $1.5 billion went to rent subsidies and emergency housing that kept 1.2 million people under roofs. (That's why the recession didn't produce rampant homelessness.) It increased spending on food stamps, unemployment benefits and Medicaid, keeping at least seven million Americans from falling below the poverty line.

"And as Mr. Grunwald shows, it made crucial investments in neglected economic sectors that are likely to pay off for decades. . . ."

Grunwald said that "race is not a main theme of my book. My feeling is that the stimulus helped everybody." But he said it was "most helpful to people who had the least money. . . . It kept seven million people out of poverty." But Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, is quoted extensively questioning the motives of Republican governors, mostly in the South, who declared that they would not accept  their states' share of the stimulus.

Grunwald said he spent two years on the book after becoming interested in the stimulus money allocated to energy, a frequent subject of his reporting. He also said he found President Obama to have been "bizarrely measured" as feckless by journalists reporting on the stimulus. "The Obama in my book does what he says he was going to do . . . I think my sources are very good," he said.

On Voter ID Stories, "Balance" Isn't Always Fairness

Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times' new public editor, pointed Sunday to a recent story about voter fraud in warning reporters against stories that present a "false balance" between two contentions that are not equally true.

" . . . Several who wrote to me thought there was an element of false balance in a recent front-page article in The Times on the legal battles over allegations of voter fraud and vote suppression — hot topics that may affect the presidential race," Sullivan wrote.

"In his article, which led last Monday's paper, the national reporter Ethan Bronner made every effort to provide balance. Some readers say the piece, in so doing, wrongly suggested that there was enough voter fraud to justify strict voter identification requirements — rules that some Democrats believe amount to vote suppression. Ben Somberg of the Center for Progressive Reform said The Times itself had established in multiple stories that there was little evidence of voter fraud.

" 'I hope it's not The Times's policy to move this matter back into the 'he said she said' realm,' he wrote.

"The national editor, Sam Sifton, rejected the argument. 'There's a lot of reasonable disagreement on both sides,' he said. One side says there's not significant voter fraud; the other side says there's not significant voter suppression.

" 'It's not our job to litigate it in the paper,' Mr. Sifton said. 'We need to state what each side says.' "

Sullivan concluded, ". . . It ought to go without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway: Journalists need to make every effort to get beyond the spin and help readers know what to believe, to help them make their way through complicated and contentious subjects.

"The more news organizations can state established truths and stand by them, the better off the readership — and the democracy — will be."

Sonya Ross of the Associated Press reported last week, "As many as 700,000 minority voters under age 30 may be unable to cast a ballot in November because of photo ID laws in certain states, according to a new study. The lower turnout could affect several House races as well as the tight presidential contest.

"Using calculations based on turnout figures for the past two presidential elections, researchers at the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis concluded that overall turnout this year by young people of color ages 18-29 could fall by somewhere between 538,000 to 696,000 in states with photo ID laws."

Milwaukee Columnist Kane to Switch to Reporting

After 18 years, Eugene Kane is giving up his Metro column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Kane confirmed on Monday, and will return to reporting, covering the Milwaukee Public Schools.

"The last round of buyouts at the Journal Sentinel made me really start considering my career at this paper," Kane said by telephone. Kane, 56, said has been at the paper for 31 years and realized that he wasn't going to be doing the column forever.

Eugene Kane

Referring to the buyout possibility, Kane said, "My attitude is I'm not going to sit at home for a year and collect a paycheck" in a city like Milwaukee, "where some studies have shown that half of the black men in the city are unemployed." So Kane said he accepted an offer to cover the predominantly African American school system. As a columnist who wrote frequently about racial issues, Kane said he was intrigued by the idea and noted that he had a lot of connections in the school system. Moreover, "I've had top editors assure me they consider it a prestigious beat.

"After about a week of really considering it, I decided, 'Let me try this.' Life is about change."

The number of African American newspaper columnists is shrinking as newspapers continue to downsize. An astonishing 10 African American metro or op-ed columnists stopped writing their columns in 2011, and most were not replaced by another journalist of color.

Kane's columns have been honored by the National Headliner Awards, Sigma Delta Chi and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Marbilia Gabriel Mejia was killed when this panga boat overturned near Californi

Reporter Follows Border Smuggling to the Ocean

"The Pacific Ocean is the latest frontier in human smuggling, shifting the battle over illegal immigration to California's coast," the Orange County (Calif.) Register explained Sunday in introducing a series that is to run on three consecutive Sundays.

"As the federal government tightens patrol of land routes once popular with immigrants sneaking from Mexico into California and Arizona the sea has become the latest method for people trying to cross illegally into the United States from Mexico. Apprehensions along California's coastline have nearly tripled since officials first tracked the phenomenon in 2008.

"Orange County Register reporter Cindy Carcamo traveled to Mexico and Guatemala, asking people who have become part of the sometimes deadly phenomenon how and why they do it or, in some cases, why their loved ones were willing to risk their lives.

"The project was sponsored by an International Reporting Fellowship administered by The International Center for Journalists and funded by the Ford Foundation."

Carcamo announced on Facebook on Monday that she will be joining the Los Angeles Times as a national correspondent based in Arizona, "covering regional issues such as the border, immigration and whatever else pops up."

The Times announced in May that it had received "a $1-million grant from the Ford Foundation to expand its coverage of key beats, including immigration and ethnic communities in Southern California, the southwest U.S. border and the emerging economic powerhouse of Brazil." The two-year grant was to pay for five reporters. Times spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan, asked whether Carcamo's job was funded by the grant, said Monday, "We don't separate our staffers in that manner."

Hispanic Heritage Month Not Just for Latinos

"On this eve of Hispanic Heritage Month, I can't help but feel frustrated. According to a poll released this week by the National Hispanic Media Coalition and Latino Decisions, seven out of every ten non-Latinos believe that Latinos are gang members or criminals," Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto wrote Friday for NBCLatino.com.

"The bad news is obvious — over seventy percent of non-Latinos believe Blood In Blood Out movie characters are the norm in our community. However there is a silver lining, these negative views are malleable.

" . . . until this week I had a very selfish view of Hispanic Heritage Month. I saw Hispanic Heritage [Month] as being about me and my ethnic group. It was a family celebration. Not that non-Latinos weren't invited, but the celebration was about us. Put differently, it was essentially Latinos preaching to the choir — successful Latinos highlighting their successes.

"The findings from the Latino Decisions poll, together with two years of a harsh anti-immigrant media barrage, have jolted me. I no longer have a sanguine view about the weeks that make up Hispanic Heritage Month. This month is not about celebrating, it's about rolling up our sleeves and getting to work. Hispanic Heritage Month must be used as a springboard to shift popular negative perceptions of Latinos. It must be a vehicle for re-framing who Latinos in this country are. And most importantly, the focus of Hispanic Heritage Month should not be Latinos, but rather all Americans."

Nick Jimenez, editorial page editor emeritus of the Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times, had a related thought.

He wrote in the Caller-Times on Sunday, "As I was reading up on Hispanic Heritage Month, it struck me that virtually all of the commentary was written by Hispanics, just as this column is written by one. I would love to read a piece by a writer with no Hispanic background with the title, 'What Hispanic Heritage Month means to me.' . . . the celebration won't truly become universal until the public not named Jimenez, Rocha, Garcia, etc., joins in the festivities."

Glenda McQueen, a former reporter, holds a picture of her son Michael McQueen Jr

 

Glenda McQueen, Survivor, Awaits Trial Verdict

"When Glenda McQueen worked as a reporter in violence-torn Miami in the 1980s, she sat with grieving relatives of the dead, trying to capture their anguish," Michael Laris wrote Sunday for the Washington Post.

" 'I was an outsider looking in,' she said.

"But in 2006, her son Michael was shot in the head. His roommate was convicted of killing him while he watched television in their Gaithersburg apartment.

"It's almost cliche. There's nothing like it. It's the kind of pain that I feel every day and I know people that have lost children feel every day,' McQueen said. 'I look at people who have children, and I feel cheated. I feel that something precious has been taken from me that I'll never get back.'

"McQueen thinks about Michael at least several times a day, every day. Over the past three weeks, she has spent long hours in a Montgomery County courtroom living through a wrenching do-over of the 2008 murder trial.

"The conviction in her son's death was thrown out by an appeals court last year, and a jury is set to hear closing arguments in the retrial Monday.

"As the lawyers in the courtroom projected photos of Michael, his bloody head thrown back in his low-slung chair, she looked down, her turquoise painted fingernails pressing hard against her brow. She couldn't avoid the onslaught of words — gush, spurt, brain matter — but she could avert her eyes.

"Even hearing it could sometimes be too much. One afternoon, after days of testimony, she sat in the lobby outside the courtroom doors trying to read 'A Streetcar Named Desire,' preparation for her high school English students back home in New Orleans.

"Otto, Michael's brother, has been alongside her. But this time around her husband, Michael Sr., isn't with them. He was suffering from congestive heart failure during the first trial and has since passed away, leaving her with another void. . . . "

"For a day-by-day account of the trial, see washingtonpost.com/crime."

Short Takes

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Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site BugMeNot.com provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

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Comments

Cross-postings from theRoot.com

LogicalLeopard *LOL*   If anyone needs to brighten their day, open the original article and take a look at the third cover. I don't know about you, but that's one of the most hilarious things I've seen in a while.   SAAAGGGEEE!!!  from theroot QuietThoughtsII Given recent covers on NewsWeek its apparent just how desperate they have become. They are using the old adage, bad PR is better than no PR.

The end of Emory's journalism program

I taught in Emory's journalism program for five years. When Loren Ghiglione came to take over the department, several professors invited me  to speak. Soon Loren asked me to help build a broadcast component of the program, which I did. We had no budget, but we managed to utilize the university's resources to do broadcast journalism. Some of my former students are still in touch with me and many of them are reporters and managers right now. This is a sad day for Emory. I also don't understanding why the "powers that be" don't realize how digital and new media are intertwined with journalism. This is a new day, but Emory has always had a hard time grabbing the concept of quality journalism. They do, however, have a magnificent collection of historic African American newspapers and photographs, but it is part of the library and not the journalism department. Plus... you can't get any better that Nathan McCall and Hank. All that talent kicked to the curb.

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